As it has been reported that the possible relocation of the office of the Belmont County Tourism Council from its current and long-time location at the Ohio Valley Mall to the former Belmont County Sheriff’s residence, which is located adjacent to the Belmont County Courthouse in downtown St. Clairsville, upon completion of its renovation maybe considered. I would like to enumerate what I consider as possible ramification of such a move.
My concerns are as follows: Is not the Ohio Valley Mall arguably Belmont County’s foremost tourist destination, and having the office of the Tourism Council at the hub of such activity appears to be most adventageous to all concerned?
The traffic at the Tourism Office at its current location has been quite impressive over the years and information and material is conveniently disseminated and readily available to tourists and residents alike, which highlight events and places of interest in Belmont County.
Also, with the recent renovations at the Ohio Valley Mall, along with confirmation of the addition of Boscov’s Department Store and other anticipated positive changes, indicate the continued enhancement of the Ohio Valley Mall as a tourist attraction with the anticipated increase of area traffic will even further solidify the mall as the county’s hub of such activity.
Conversely, downtown St. Clairsville, if not for the appropriateness of the mall to continue to house such a worthwhile and critical operation, could be seen as a viable location for the Tourism Office.
However, parking while plentiful and accessible at the mall, is at somewhat of a premium in downtown St. Clairsville of this I am aware first hand, being a semi-regular attendee of Belmont County Commissioners meetings, held at the Belmont County Courthouse.
In addition, although upon completion of its renovation, the former sheriff’s residence appears to continue to be less than handicapped accessible, which should also be a cause for concern.
Originally the plan was for the former Belmont County Sheriff’s residence to become a satellite office for the Tourism Council, with the renovated facility being used as a type of Belmont County museum.
Hopefully these original plans will see fruition and the county’s office of Tourism will remain at its present site. And, I feel, most adventageous location – at the Ohio Valley Mall.